The need to continue to work towards effecting change in the social and cultural aspects of inheritance while exploring legislation and policies that will protect female inheritance in Nigeria was one of the issues that took the front burners at the inaugural one-day workshop put together by the Office of the Wife of the Governor and Forum for Wives of Ondo State Officials (FOWOSO) to mark International Women’s Day Celebration at Babafunke Ajasin Hall, Akure, Ondo State.
Addressing the gathering, the wife of the Ondo State Governor, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu affirmed that for too long, social and cultural customs in Nigeria have constrained women from enjoying liberations accorded to them in terms of inheritance. Explaining the pertinence for women to understand their rights regarding inheritance which is the first step towards exercising and benefiting from their rights.
Mrs. Akeredolu who noted that the system of inheritance in Nigeria is still patriarchal and discriminatory against women stressed that in this era of liberation and advocacy for equality and elimination of gender bias not just in Nigeria but worldwide, it was high time the advocacy finds expression in terms of inheritance.
“This workshop is designed to enlighten us as women on our rights within the law and customs. It teaches us how to protect the widows from exploitation from rightfully succeeding possession from our husbands”. She added while thanking all those who provided support towards making the event a reality.
In her remark, the Honourable Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Omowumi Olatunji-Edet expressed concern over the growing spate of discrimination meted out to women as a result of customs and tradition noting that it is important for women to know their rights.
While stressing that women need to become inclusive in governance, she lauded Mrs. Akeredolu for taking women’s cause further by organizing the programme in order to empower women with the right information that will help them.
The Guest Lecturer, Barrister Kehinde Adegbite while speaking on the topic: “The Nigerian Women and Their Right to Inherit Property’, highlighted some discriminatory laws that discourage women from inheriting properties across Nigeria under the customary law, stressing that the law mostly permits male children to inheritance.
While noting that some females have however challenged such stands in the past and won against discriminations, he highlighted three types of marriages that are recognized under the law which include Customary, Islamic and Marriage under the Act.
Bar. Adegbite who also talked about the need to write a ‘Will’ further observed that if a woman is working and has her own assets or assets jointly with her husband, she needs to write a ‘Will’.
In his goodwill message, the Attorney General, Ondo State, Bar. Kolawole Olawoye charged women to become united and that with one voice, they will be able to form a formidable front stressing that without unity, they will be deceiving themselves even after having heard the lecture.
He also charged women to ensure that they get married Under the Acts so that they remain protected under the law.